C-level executives must have discretionary time to work on the tasks that are most important to the company. These include such tasks as strategy, organization direction, communication, and people development. All this requires time to think.
Yet, finding discretionary time can be difficult when everyone wants some of your time and there’s not enough room in your schedule for all the meetings others want you to attend. You cannot do it all, and if you try to do it all, you won’t be doing your job and you won’t have a healthy work-life balance.
There is no simple solution – it depends greatly on the individual executive’s situation. What I’ve found helpful in my work with senior-level executives is first an appreciation for the difference between how an executive thinks time is spent and the actual use of time. That’s a good beginning.
Time is a resource. It needs to be prioritized. And time to think is also a value. I’ve heard that in Japan people will interrupt if you are busy, but will not interrupt if you are thinking. The opposite is more prevalent here. (It’s not very easy to pick-up where you left off if your thinking is interrupted.)
When you have sufficient discretionary time, your performance, your contribution to the enterprise, and your work-life balance will all improve.
Do you have enough discretionary time to perform at the level of your position? If not, what are you doing to about it? Contact me for suggestions.